Sailor wrestlers riding strong start into latter half of season
Steamboat Springs — It’s not quite like a baseball pitcher in the midst of a no-hitter, but when a wrestler has an undefeated record midway through a season, you don’t spend a lot of time talking about it.
So forgive Steamboat Springs High School wrestling coach Travis Bryant if he doesn’t want to go into too much detail about junior 152-pound wrestler Matthew Hansen and his perfect mark.
“I don’t want to jinx him, but he is really looking good,” Bryant said. “He is our only undefeated kid right now, and I’d like to keep it that way. But we’ve got a really tough schedule coming up, and it’s going to be tough to keep that mark. But if he does, outstanding.”
Hansen, a returning state qualifier for the Sailors, has performed like someone who has plans to be back in the Pepsi Center later this winter. Steamboat competed in a pair of triangulars and three tournaments before the holiday break, and Hansen came away with wins in each of his matches.
However, that isn’t to say it was easy. Hansen feels he earned the undefeated record and doesn’t mind when people bring it up.
“Yeah, I like it. It’s something that I work hard toward. When people recognize it, it’s a good feeling,” Hansen said. “I don’t get too nervous that I have to keep an undefeated record. I just take it one match at a time and focus on that and not look ahead.”
Hansen said his favorite win came in the finals of the West Grand tournament Dec. 19. He was down 2-0 in the third period but found a way to take down his opponent and earn the win via pin.
“It definitely hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to earn it,” Hansen said. “I’m just going to try and keep the same mindset that I have, because it’s been working.”
Despite Hansen being the only undefeated wrestler for the Sailors, many of his teammates also enjoyed a strong start to the season. The team’s other two returning state qualifiers — juniors Colton Pasternak and Dakota Thvedt — could very well make it back this season with impressive records.
And if things come together as the team hopes following the break, there could be more than just three competing for regional championships and state berths.
“The whole team looks really good,” said junior 126-pounder Colten Crawford, who is 10-1 this season. “I started off really strong. I had a different mindset on how I was going to handle the season. Our coach gave us most of the tools we needed to get it started off.”
While the team lacks a lot in size and depth, the Sailors feel their conditioning is among the best in the state. And with a couple of potential mid-season additions to the roster, the latter half of the schedule is looking promising for Steamboat.
“There are definitely some of those matches I probably could have fought a little harder, but I think as a team, we are doing really great and placing high in the tournaments,” said Pasternak, who is 12-2. “You can always work on everything, and that’s the thing about wrestling. You never stop improving.”
The Sailors will hit the mat for the first time in 2016 when they travel to Eagle Valley for a tournament Jan. 9. The following Tuesday, SSHS will take part in a triangular at Rifle.
“There is no easy weekend coming,” Bryant said. “I think we are game for it.”
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